Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Catch up with Lisa Butcher- The model, the mum, the designer and the ambassador!

Lisa Butcher was catapulted to supermodel stardom at the age of 14 after winning a modelling competition with British Elle and went on to work with fashion powerhouses like YSL, Galliano and Ralph Lauren. She famously married Marco Pierre White 3 weeks after meeting him (aged just 21) but the pair divorced after 15 weeks! Now the mother of two has established herself as a presenter fronting Britain’s Next Top Model and What Not To Wear. She is also an ambassador for Fairtrade Cotton, designing jewellery and designing a range for Long Tall Sally- this is one busy yummy mummy! We caught up with Lisa recently and she revealed all about her work with Fairtrade, her lust for J Brand jeans, why beauty starts from the inside out and her tips for looking sexy this summer!

How did you get involved with Fair Trade cotton?
I grew up in Indonesia around tea plantations. So I’d seen first hand what it was like for workers in these countries. And the experience instilled in me that we should always care for other people. When Fairtrade approached me I jumped at the chance to help out. They asked me to go and see the cotton farmers in Gujarat. It was an amazing 4 day trip, where I met the workers and their families, saw how they lived. People don’t really think about the consequences of what they are wearing. I wanted to highlight to people what the cotton workers go through.

Do you think it’s important for people in the public eye to get behind causes?
Definitely. It’s important if you have a bit of a profile to be a voice for people who have been forgotten. Coming from the modelling industry you were a projection of everyone’s ideas, told to wear something shut up and get on with it- I had 20 years of that but now I can speak up! I couldn’t take on too many because I still need to take care of my children and earn a living!

Is it tricky juggling motherhood, your career and charity work?
I wouldn’t have it any other way. The more busy you are the more organised you are with your time and the more you get out of your days. My kids come before everything always, much to the detriment of my career sometimes! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learnt during your career?
Take every opportunity when it comes because it might not come again. I started out so young [14 yrs old]. I didn’t appreciate what I had and in hindsight I would have taken more of the opportunities that came my way! I fronted a Ralph Lauren campaign and I didn’t even know who they were!

What was the hardest thing starting out so young in the industry?Well 14 is a time when you are still developing. Hormones are flying all over the place and you are becoming who you are going to be in the future. Sometimes going into a role and forgetting who you are can have repercussion’s later on in life. And I guess for me, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t stay in school for longer.

You fronted What Not To Wear. Would you say the main aim of the show was to help those struggling with their image?

It wasn’t so much to do with image. It was more to do with restoring confidence. Often something had happened- they may have lost someone or they might have been ill-and they needed their confidence back. It wasn’t just about looking in the mirror. It’s about feeling good on the inside. You don’t have to be the prettiest in the room to be the one that everyone gravitates towards. Confidence is key!

Do you ever struggle with image or finding the right clothes?

Gosh all my life! I love those really cool jeans that are out at the moment by J Brand, they kind of look like combats [the Houlihan]. And they only come in a 31inch leg. I’m 6ft, its a bit annoying that the coolest trousers in the world will never fit me! I also have hips so I do sometimes struggle!

Would you say you’re a bit of a crusader for women of all sizes being accepted and having the right to good clothes that fit?
In a way. I went to Equity to campaign for models of all sizes to be represented on the catwalk. When I was modelling I was told not to eat, that I was too fat. I had puppy fat. It did disappear but now its come back!

You look amazing! Do you have a failsafe sexy outfit?
Probably a dress that I designed for Long Tall Sally. It’s a halter neck maxi dress, but with really long ties so you can tie it up in heaps of different ways.

What’s your favourite/ least favourite part of your body?
My arms are my favourite as they are quite slim. I guess my bottom half is my least favourite. I have a typical English pear shape!

I’m sure the fella’s like it!
[Laughs] It’s so funny but its true men love that and us girls just want to be tiny as ever.

Lisa’s Sexy Summer Tips

*Killer pair of shades is a necessity. I always have at least two pairs in my handbag.

*Jean/ cargo hybrid pants like the Houlihans from J Brand a la Rihanna[also check out or]

*Indulge in tribal prints- but it’s a trend so don’t overspend.

*A maxi dress- my one from Long Tall Sally is brilliant!

*Zen Tan- its amazing, you look super healty and if you put it on right it doesn’t streak!

*Bright nail varnishes from POP! They are so bright you practically need shades to look at them. Neon brights are a brilliant look for nails this summer

*Mineral foundation by Mac. It’s the best coverage in the heat. Your skin can breath!

To find out more about Fairtrade Cotton visit

Visit and check out Lisa's designs!

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